Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – December 12, 2020
While you were doing all these things, declares the Lord, I spoke to you again and again, but you did not listen; I called you, but you did not answer. Jeremiah 7:13 (NIV)
Encountering God’s peace requires an attentive and listening ear. To enter into the peace of the Lord is an active and engaging reality. We must intentionally look for signs of his coming kingdom and listen to his still, small voice.
Rarely in life are we truly passive, disengaged from the cares or concerns of the world and how they impact our daily lives. Even if we are physically still, our hearts and minds can easily be restless, consumed with fear of the future or bitter resentment towards those who have hurt or wronged us in the past. And though we culturally value multitasking, in many ways it is an illusion, for we cannot give ourselves fully to multiple tasks, people, or pursuits. As Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24).
In Jeremiah 7, the Lord was explicit in how he wanted his people to focus their time and attention: execute justice, care for the stranger, orphan, and widow, do not murder. If they gave themselves fully to this way of life, the rewards were great, with the Lord saying “I will cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever” (Jeremiah 7:6). Instead, we see them freely giving themselves to the opposite way of life: lying, stealing, murdering, and worshipping false gods, and then having the audacity to come and stand before the Lord in his house of worship (see Jeremiah 7:8-11).
Though this passage paints a bleak picture and reminds us of our capacity as humans to run headlong into sin and self-destruction, it is also filled with an undeniable hope. Why? Because even when we are at our absolute worst, the Lord still speaks to his people. Even when we are running away as fast as we can, he stands at the gate and longs for us to return, like a father looking for a prodigal son. He speaks words of peace over us, again and again. Will we quiet our hearts this Advent season and learn to hear and obey?
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (Revelation 3:20).
Father, help us to turn from the sins that deafen our ears to your voice and teach us to hear and obey your word, we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
What noise and distraction keeps you from looking for the Lord’s work in your life and hearing his voice spoken to you?
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